How Technology is Ushering in a New Era for Media & Entertainment Firms

As the digital wave sweeps across industries, media and entertainment companies too are placing big bets on emerging technologies for engaging consumers in the connected world

By: Karan Puri, Corporate Vice President, Consumer Services, HCL Technologies

The Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry is in the middle of a rapid digital transformation. Proliferation of smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and connected TVs has played a
critical role in changing the landscape of media consumption.
Widespread availability of broadband access, the prevailing practice of using the Internet to access media content, and advancement in technology areas have created the perfect storm for explosive growth of multi-screen media consumption. The savvy and demanding consumer expects to be able to play contextualized content on any device.
Technology is leading to the convergence of ecosystem players to provide better consumer experience. Just to elaborate, content providers like Warner Brothers; consumer electronics companies like Apple and Google; communication service providers like Verizon; and OTT providers like Netflix are converging to provide community driven, contextualized, commercialized, and multi-channel content for the connected digital age users.
The focus on technology adoption in media firms can be gauged from the fact that the top five media companies, on an average, are spending approximately $1.5-1.8 bn on transformation initiatives every year.
Technology is changing the ways of doing business and devising several new business models, like pay-per-use, subscription, rental etc. For example, Netflix recently launched rental books post its successful growth in overthe- top TV segment disrupting traditional cinema-based film distribution.
Technology is not only bringing the change in the way of
creation and procurement of content but also bringing an accelerated change in the way of consumption and delivery to the end user.
Media companies are fast to adapt to cloud, social media, mobility, analytics, and big data and the reason could be the genre of the business and ever-increasing expectations from customers. Cloud is providing flexibility and scalability to manage media content demands during peak & trough periods, as well as providing the best cost efficient option for media management and archiving.
Around a couple of decades back, a large advertiser could reach around 70% of the population of most markets by advertising during popular programming.
Today, the same advertisement covers half or less their reach. Now, customers have abundant choices including from browsing Internet, watching on-demand TV, video blog, iPad video, etc. Hence, it is of paramount importance for an organization to create a contextualized reach for its customers. A fully functional media company must be able to provide the capabilities of the ‘Digital Media Menu’ ie, best of the technology solution of the players like, Hulu, Comcast, Netflix, iTunes, etc.
Organizations are realizing that they need to position themselves where the audience community is engaging. Consumer adoption of new devices offers opportunity through new ways to reach and engage consumer. This in addition to continued fragmentation drives the need for new business models and new infrastructure to support these new platforms.
The changes in consumer behavior provide great opportunities for content providers, broadcasters, network providers, service providers, and technology companies to increase their revenues while trying to cater to the consumer’s insatiable demands. These opportunities however, present their own set of challenges.
Some of the trends changing the landscape of media
industry are:
„„Media consumption patterns are moving towards four As (any content, anywhere, anytime, any device).
This means companies need to invest in processes and technology for acquisition, management, distribution, cross-platform collaboration, and monetization of content, ensuring faster growth in the digital services.
„„Multi-platform content delivery is offering wider
coverage across multiple audience segments but stateof-
the-art developments like Over-the-Top-Content (OTT)
and localization services bring in personalization and
targeted advertising to a level never imagined few years
„„New monetization channels will continue to emerge
on the back of multi-platform content distribution channels, enforcing businesses to rethink the ways they offer, manage, and monetize advertising services for their online presence.
„„There is a need for better control of content to maintain optimal performance and to monetize content as it flows through their networks. Last-mile service providers need to increase their subscriber base by providing what the customers want and to recoup their investments by adding services such as targeted ads.
„„Personalization services through proactive consumer insights across all the channels of interaction through offerings like localized news, personalized content and merchandise, targeted advertising, etc, will continue to evolve, providing opportunities for the businesses to tap additional sources of revenue.
„„Social networks are impacting TV ratings and have become a major driver for content discovery and content choice.
„„Major developments in Information Technology, e.g, cloud hosting, are enabling virtualization of entire broadcast infrastructure and complete end-to-end management of broadcast operations through software.
To succeed in the midst of the current phase, companies should focus on the following key imperatives:
„„Content Everywhere: Develop new business models and partner collaboration by leveraging the continued convergence of telecom, media and Internet to strengthen core businesses, improve competitive position and generate new revenues faster.
„„Enhanced Customer Experience: Capitalize on the connected consumer and digital marketplace, turning information into business insights to enhance production, cross-channel distribution, and value creation. Launch new innovative services quickly, leveraging relationships across channels and using
real-time analytics to gain deep customer insights and
personalized offerings.
„„Linear Non-Linear Digital Supply Integration: Streamline the media supply chain to bring down the cost of content production and focus on multi-platform delivery to improve productivity.
„„Globalization/Localization: Demand is growing and media conglomerates are on an expansion spree in the new and emerging geographies. Companies while focusing on the core market have to cater to the market growing at a double digit pace with the help of creating globalized with localized content and offerings.
„„Business Models: Focus on content monetization to open up major opportunities for new type of services, business models, collaborative synergies, and consumer relationships like one-day passes for content streaming and mini content packages, etc.
„„Marketing Outcome: Advertisement choices are increasing and hence the importance of focused, personalized and localized advertisements while increasing Return on Marketing Investment (RoMI).
„„Cost Optimization: Lower costs and improve agility in a rapidly changing environment by achieving operational excellence and reducing infrastructure and process complexity.
A media organization of today needs to be agile to quickly adapt to the rapidly changing trends in the industry.
The role of CIOs and CTOs would be more demanding and would require close interlink with the business and
customers. Media organizations need to foresee trends and incubate technology labs.

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